On Tuesday, the Republican-led North Carolina Senate voted to override four of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes, bringing the chamber’s total number of veto overrides this legislative session to all six.
Two of the bills Cooper vetoed on Monday, Senate bills 299 and 331, originally passed the Senate unanimously, but in both cases just one Democrat, Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, voted to override the veto. Senate Bill 329 passed originally with a 34-9 vote, including nine Democrats supporting the bill. Again, only Woodard voted to override.
“After voting to support these bills, Democrats have decided that loyalty to their party leader is more important than good policy. At the end of the day, Democrats have a constituency of one — Roy Cooper,” said Sen. Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, in a statement Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday afternoon, State Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican, and State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat, urged lawmakers to override Cooper’s veto of SB 299, which increases penalties on local governments for failing to turn in financial reports on time, saying it provides needed compliance policy.
“When the leadership of governmental units fails to submit timely audits, the state has no insight as to whether they are in financial difficulty,” they said. “The taxpayers hurt by this lack of transparency are often those on lower and fixed incomes.”
“Residents need to know how their local officials are spending their hard-earned tax dollars. It’s a shame that Gov. Cooper vetoed a bill that supports good governance and provides transparency to our residents,” said Sen. Lisa Barnes, R-Nash, sponsor of the bill.
The Senate also overrode Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 364, Nondiscrimination & Dignity in State Work, which originally passed the chamber with a 30-15 vote, including support from three Democrats. The bill would ban the state government from requiring employees or job applicants to publicly adhere to an ideology, “..affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition of employment.”
Despite initial support from some, all Senate Democrats voted to sustain Cooper’s veto.
“Our state employees come from diverse backgrounds and we should be encouraging freedom of thought, instead of subjecting them to discriminatory trainings,” said Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Burke), the primary sponsor of the measure. “This bill strikes the necessary balance between forbidding discrimination in our state workplaces and maintaining the First Amendment rights of our state employees.”
The vetoes now go to the North Carolina House for consideration.